Rethinking ‘quality versus quantity’

Posted by Andrew Lloyd, managing director of Legal Futures Associate Search Acumen

Lloyd: many misconceptions surrounding productivity

The ‘quality versus quantity’ discussion has been prevalent in conveyancing firms for as long as I can remember. Sacrifice one to achieve the other is the common perception – but should we really see these elements as mutually exclusive?

According to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the UK lags behind the US and Germany by some 30 percentage points when it comes to productivity, meaning a German worker takes four days to produce what a British worker does in five.

Matters surrounding productivity in UK businesses are at the top of the agenda for the government, but misconceptions about how to achieve higher levels are holding us back from levelling with the economic heavyweights.

In 2007, Apple’s inaugural iPhone launch shook up the global smartphone market with the most innovative and ground-breaking device seen. To mass-produce a phone with such high quality and complexity was a feat many deemed impossible, but 10 years and over a billion handset sales later, the company remains at the cutting edge of high-quality technology, leading the tech world whilst  holding 40% of its own market.

This is no different in the service industry, where ‘quantity versus quantity’ must be forgotten by conveyancers – firms should always deliver both, and can, with the right products and processes in place.

There are many misconceptions surrounding productivity. Many firms feel threatened by it and tend to deflect it as compromising quality of service. However, this defensive outlook should be overhauled; investing in the right technology and processes can be ground-breaking in terms of the level of customer service delivered.  

For example, a conveyance does not always need to be completed from the top down. By adopting the right technology to manage workloads and keep the process on schedule is simple through a case management system and can free up senior conveyancers time by allowing a more junior member of staff to do some of the legwork with clear direction and supervision.

Productivity is about delivering conveyancing acumen efficiently, not simply driving down costs and prices. Our industry should learn, rather than be defensive, from those driving forward innovation successfully.

The rise of the online estate agency is a prime example where embracing the benefits of tech does not automatically compromise quality of service or increase possible levels of volume. Rather, it is the service and technology culture of the business that what will determine the relative success of these elements.

Innovation allows the likes of Purple Bricks to deliver an unprecedented service to both the customer and the professional, leveraging tech advancement to disrupt the market. Similarly, embracing the latest IT infrastructure, for example, will ease your workforce’s administrative burden and allow for a greater case conversion rate.

The property sector is undergoing large-scale change and the modern day firm will leave the traditional conveyancer behind if productivity and quality of service are not viewed as bedfellows.

Innovation is part of our story at Search Acumen and it keeps us pushing for greater productivity. Effective implementation of technology has enabled us to save on headcount whilst offering a far better level of customer service than was achievable before. Ongoing investment in infrastructure can appear daunting but the rewards felt when a balance between your firm’s productivity and the quality of its service is struck will outweigh your reservations.

Where do you start? Identifying where your business lacks productivity and finding solutions to low output can be tricky, but the Conveyancing Productivity Index can help your firm. Take the challenge today to ensure you are in line with the industry and make quantity and quality the complimentary match.

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